Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Albemarle (NYSE:ALB) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note published on Tuesday. Zacks Investment Research currently has $104.00 target price on the specialty chemicals company’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Albemarle remains focused on strengthening its lithium business. It is well placed to leverage strong growth in the battery-grade lithium market. The company is also likely to gain from the synergies of Rockwood Holdings acquisition. Further, Albemarle is divesting non-core assets to boost growth opportunities and focus on its key businesses. The company also remains committed to deliver incremental returns to shareholders. “

ALB has been the topic of several other reports. ValuEngine cut Albemarle from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research note on Tuesday, May 29th. Citigroup reduced their price objective on Albemarle from $112.00 to $95.00 and set a neutral rating on the stock in a research note on Tuesday, April 10th. Royal Bank of Canada restated a buy rating and set a $113.00 price objective on shares of Albemarle in a research note on Tuesday, April 17th. Vertical Group upgraded Albemarle from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note on Tuesday, June 12th. Finally, KeyCorp reduced their price objective on Albemarle from $148.00 to $140.00 and set an overweight rating on the stock in a research note on Thursday, April 12th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, three have assigned a hold rating and twenty-one have assigned a buy rating to the company. The company presently has a consensus rating of Buy and an average target price of $130.69.

Shares of Albemarle opened at $100.76 on Tuesday, according to MarketBeat.com. Albemarle has a 12-month low of $86.75 and a 12-month high of $144.99. The firm has a market cap of $10.28 billion, a P/E ratio of 18.27, a PEG ratio of 1.27 and a beta of 1.65. The company has a current ratio of 2.48, a quick ratio of 1.72 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.36.

Albemarle (NYSE:ALB) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, August 7th. The specialty chemicals company reported $1.36 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.28 by $0.08. Albemarle had a return on equity of 14.42% and a net margin of 10.17%. The firm had revenue of $853.87 million for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $799.49 million. analysts predict that Albemarle will post 5.33 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, October 1st. Shareholders of record on Friday, September 14th will be paid a $0.335 dividend. This represents a $1.34 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.33%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, September 13th. Albemarle’s payout ratio is 29.19%.

A number of hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the business. Texas Yale Capital Corp. lifted its stake in Albemarle by 12.9% in the first quarter. Texas Yale Capital Corp. now owns 4,950 shares of the specialty chemicals company’s stock valued at $459,000 after buying an additional 565 shares during the last quarter. ETRADE Capital Management LLC lifted its stake in Albemarle by 26.3% in the first quarter. ETRADE Capital Management LLC now owns 2,743 shares of the specialty chemicals company’s stock valued at $254,000 after buying an additional 571 shares during the last quarter. Dupont Capital Management Corp raised its stake in shares of Albemarle by 81.6% during the first quarter. Dupont Capital Management Corp now owns 1,358 shares of the specialty chemicals company’s stock valued at $126,000 after purchasing an additional 610 shares in the last quarter. Cornerstone Advisors Inc. raised its stake in shares of Albemarle by 19.7% during the second quarter. Cornerstone Advisors Inc. now owns 3,730 shares of the specialty chemicals company’s stock valued at $352,000 after purchasing an additional 614 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Wealthstreet Investment Advisors LLC raised its stake in shares of Albemarle by 10.6% during the second quarter. Wealthstreet Investment Advisors LLC now owns 6,775 shares of the specialty chemicals company’s stock valued at $639,000 after purchasing an additional 650 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors own 88.36% of the company’s stock.

About Albemarle

Albemarle Corporation develops, manufactures, and markets engineered specialty chemicals worldwide. Its Lithium and Advanced Materials segment offers lithium compounds, including lithium carbonate, lithium hydroxide, lithium chloride, and lithium specialties, as well as reagents, such as butyllithium and lithium aluminum hydride for applications in lithium batteries for consumer electronics and automobiles, high performance greases, thermoplastic elastomers for car tires, rubber soles, plastic bottles, catalysts for chemical reactions, organic synthesis processes, life science, pharmaceutical, and other markets.

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